Hannah from Dragon Wings has made a new year’s resolution to strike out from the world of Dungeons and Dragons and try out some new tabletop role playing games. Here she explores the wonderful world of one page RPG’s.
They Have Loads of Role Play!
My entirely unhumble, and completely biased, opinion is that the heart of an RPG is the “R”. For me, the juice comes from finding and inhabiting a character. As one page RPGs need to be simple and succinct, they often rely on characterisation and role play to bring them to life. This, combined with their short playing time, makes them the perfect opportunity to really try out your acting chops on something new.
Of course, the beauty of one pagers is that there are thousands of them floating round the internet. The world really is your oyster in terms of what type of character you wish to create. For me, comedic games are what I love, and there is no shortage of options in this category. I just love paring a ridiculous storyline with a real, fleshed out character. Understanding their emotions, their motivations and their desires is what makes role playing so fun. And if that character is the heir to an octopus training shoe empire by the name of Carol Vanderhump, all the better.
The rules light nature of one-page RPGs means that creating a character is really in the foreground of your game experience. Thinking your way out of a situation becomes less about stats and grand tactics, and more about how Carol feels about the shoes. A number of these games also take an explicitly collaborative approach to storytelling. The team of players set an outcome together and spend the rest of the game working towards that. This can be a refreshing change from hours of combat and can even be something you can take back into your more long running games.
There Aren’t Too Many Rules!
I am going to level with you, I will never be known as a rules lawyer. I am a level three rogue that still struggles with the finer points of doing a sneak attack. I won’t be grappling you in game, because that would involve knowing the mechanics of how to do that. And I don’t. At all.
For a simpleton like me, learning a new system can be a little overwhelming. The very thought of it brings me out in a cold sweat. And whilst understandable, this fear breeds a lack of ambition. And this lack of ambition would have me playing medieval fantasy for the rest of my days. Now don’t get me wrong, medieval fantasy is fun. I have a whole podcast on it. But half of the joy of an RPG is doing whatever you want. And by sticking to one system, I rob myself of this. Plus, I want to run up a wall very fast on a spaceship then punch an alien. And I have not, as yet, worked out how to do this convincingly in a game of D&D.
One page RPGs offer the perfect opportunity to try out something new without the time and cost investment of a whole new system. By definition (the clue is in the name) the rules and regulations need to fit onto one sheet of A4 paper. Most are designed to be run by someone without an in- depth knowledge of the game and some run without a Games Master at all. With a few exceptions, these games are designed to be played over an hour or so, meaning if you don’t like it you can be at the pub/in bed by 9pm*.
These rules light games allow you to take risks and try something you’ve always liked the look of. Fancy trying on a space adventure for size? There’s a one pager for that. Want to show your emotional side and lay off the fighting for once? Yep, we can find you a game for that too. And who knows, if you find something you like it might be that push you needed to finally invest in that system you’ve always had your eye on.
They’re Great For Beginners!
For many people, RPG’s conjure up an image of dense and difficult to understand systems filled with fighting. We all have a friend who we know would love the world of RPGs but whose eyes glaze over the second they hear the words ‘ability modifier’. The light on rules approach of most one page RPGs is the perfect way to ensnare a new player.
Before I started playing, I had no idea there were games out there that would allow me to play Jason Statham’s tour guide, get danced to death in an ogre disco, or battle some wizards (sexily). If I had, I would have started playing in 1993. Daily.
So there we have it, my entirely unqualified opinion on why one page RPGs are so good. Why not give one a go and let us know how you get on?
*pick your sentence dependent on if you are in lockdown or not
Dragon Wings is a comedy Dungeons and Dragons podcast about a brave band of adventurers and their magical chicken (don’t ask.) You can catch the entire first season of the show on all your favourite podcast platforms. We love a chat, so do come and say hello on Twitter and Instagram!